fbpx Biennale Arte 2022 | Safia Farhat
La Biennale di Venezia

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Safia Farhat

1924 – 2004, Tunisia

  • TUE - SUN
    23/04 > 25/09
    11 AM - 7 PM

    FRI - SAT UNTIL 25/09
    11 AM - 8 PM

    TUE - SUN
    27/09 > 27/11
    10 AM - 6 PM
  • Arsenale
  • Admission with ticket

Tunisian artist, educator, and activist Safia Foudhaïli Farhat’s massive fibre works articulate weaving as an expression of the reforming spirit of her time. Dissolving the borders between art, craft, and design, her richly textured tapestries like the vibrant green diptych Gafsa & ailleurs (1983) reveal the ingenuity of her approach. Farhat was raised in an elite family in the harbour city of Radès and was among a small group of women who were educated under French colonial rule. Following Tunisian independence in 1956, Farhat became the first Tunisian woman to teach at the Institut supérieur des beaux-arts in Tunis, eventually becoming the school’s director. Farhat’s instrumentalisation of weaving has been understood as a modernist homage to a tradition predicated on women’s labour. A combination of bold geometric patterns, vivid colours, and figurative motifs woven from dyed, handspun wools, Gafsa & ailleurs borrows from craft traditions originated by women from Tunisia’s southern interior. Blending different pile heights and textures, the imposing diptych takes on a collage-like quality, depicting a verdant landscape dotted with a galloping horse who seemingly rushes into a fantastical terrain of abstract shapes. Merging the natural world with an imaged one, and ancient techniques with new applications, Gafsa & ailleurs is a postcolonial projection forward and nod to Farhat’s cultural past.

Madeline Weisburg

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Biennale Arte
Biennale Arte